We tend to want to blame every sin and problem on some sort of generational curse. This, however, is not biblical. God’s warning to visit iniquity on future generations is part of the Old Testament Law (Exodus 20:5 Numbers 14:18 Deuteronomy 5:9). A generational curse was a consequence for a specific nation (Israel) for a specific sin (idolatry). The history books of the Old Testament (especially Judges) contain the record of this divine punishment meted out. And this curse has a specific cure: repentance. When Israel turned from idols to serve the living God, the “curse” was broken and God saved them (Judges 3:9, 15; 1 Samuel 12:10-11).
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto [a thousand generations] of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5-6
In other words, God’s grace lasts a thousand times longer than His wrath.
What do we mean by generational curses today? First of all we are NOT talking about illness, disease etc. Genetic issues are the product of a fallen world and a completely separate topic for another day. What we are really talking about is Generational Dysfunction. Consequences, tendencies, weakness and learned behaviors that plague us from out past or our parents past such as addiction, abuse, depression, guilt-riddeness, etc. The key is that yes there are consequences to behavior but God is not punishing you for the sins of your parents or grandparents! It is very true that mistakes, sins, bad habits, and addictions do affect others especially our loved ones. These consequences work out in our lives very similarly but they are NOT curses from God. God wants you to be free, that IS his will. Yet we have learned from others and teach our children how to deal with life and stress and these lessons get repeated.
Its like a ball and chain
This generational dysfunction is like a Ball and Chain. They are a device designed to all the captor to have the advantage on the prisoners. The enemy uses them on you the same way. The truth is that if you have accepted Jesus as your lord and savior then God has removed the shackle. Its time to put the ball and chain down. We don’t have to break the chain, God has removed the shackle!
Biblical and practical ways to change
Problem Solving – We had learned to solve problems with it so we are tempted to go back to it. We must learn the proper and healthy way to deal with our stress, and our success, and our failure.
- Replace the model in your life with Jesus. Read the bible and learn new ways. 1 John 2:6
- Praise. We must praise God, turn to prayer in times of trouble or stress. Get on your knees people! Psalms 23, Mt 6:9, Jer 17:14
- If you have a secret sin, then make your private life a life of worship. Go into your closet. If you most often turn to sin when you’re alone then make alone time, worship. Exposing the truth that you are not alone. Mt 6:18
- Expose it to light and accountability. Find someone you can be honest with. James 5:16
Open wound – Needs treatment for proper healing, you will bear the scar but your children will not.
- Be honest with yourself, you are wounded and it needs care. Psalms 51:6, John 8:32
- It takes time give yourself time to heal. Eph 4:2
- Turn every victory no matter how small into praise. Hebrews 13:15
- Turn every failure no matter how small or large into repentance. 1 John 1:9
- The word of God is alive and it is a healing book. Read it. John 8:32
Habit – Let’s face it there is comfort in habits and they are hard to break.
- Make new habits, Exchange negative ones for positive ones, 2Cor 9:6
- Bless yourself, look forward to the reward. 1 Cor 9:24-26
- Do not deny yourself the fellowship, be accountable to someone. Heb 10:25
- Raise your kids in the church. Get as many good role models as possible in their life. Prov 22:6, Prov 11:14
- Fasting and Prayer bring clarity and there is power in that. Mt 17:19
Voices – Be careful what lies you believe. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col 2:8
- Test the voices in your life. Make sure what you hear from others if matches who the bible says you are. Psalms 109:2-4
- Test the voices in your head 2 Cor 10:5
- Expose lies you have already believed to the truth. Eph 5:11
- Expose darkness to the light. 1 John 1:6-7
Boundaries – They are a creation of God and need to set and respected. Mark 13:32
- Gal 6:5 and Gal 6:22: carry your load, help others carry theirs. Do not put yours onto someone else and do not accept someone else’s burdens as your own.
- Don’t play poop ball. That is all you need to know about poop ball. If you find that you have somehow been pulled into a match just stop and go clean up. – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Col 4:6, Eph 4:31-32
- Let it go – Sometimes you just need to stop worrying about it. When you take your hands out of it it frees God’s hands. Prov 3:5-6
- Guard your friends, Non-christians (2 Cor 6:14) and even Christians (1 Cor 5:11).
- Honoring your elders does not always mean obeying them if by that obedience they are not honored and God is not honored. Daniel 6.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd:the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:10
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit:and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.2 Cor 3:15-18
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
I will restore the years lost Joel 2:25
Check out my sermon on this subject. Generational Curses
Good Books that can help with this struggle:
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis
How to Resolve 7 Deadly Stresses
Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn
Healing from Abuse by Janene Baadsgaard
Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers